1397.) Genesis 6

September 9, 2014

“Noah’s Ark” by Pennsylvania artist Edward Hicks, 1846 (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Genesis 6  (NRSV)

The Wickedness of Humankind

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.

3Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.”

4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. 5The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

Mark 7:20-23 (New Living Translation)

And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

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Music:

HERE  is “Change My Heart, O God”  by Eddie Espinoza.  “Make it ever true.”

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6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

8But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

Noah didn’t earn grace, he found it.

Romans 5:20  (NIV)

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.

Noah Pleases God

‘Noah and his sons building the Ark’ fresco by Raffaello Sanzio, 1519 (Città del Vaticano-Palazzi Pontifici – Loggia di Raffaello)

9These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah’s three sons will figure into the account in a significant way. God will use them as a foundation for the rest of the human race.

11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.

13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.

Because of this mention of pitch (a petroleum product) in what most people think is the Middle East, John D. Rockefeller looked for (and found) oil in that region based on this verse.

–David Guzik

15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

The dimensions of the ark, about 450 by 75 by 45 feet, indicate a stable and seaworthy vessel similar in size to the Titanic, but more like a barge, meant only to float.

16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

Gen6 ele and roo

The animals came in, two by two,
The elephant and the kangaroo,
Supposing it were up to you
To bring in a tiger, and a shrew,
And a horse with eyes of blue,
And take them to their rooms so new,
And listen to the doves sing “Coo,”
And watch the world turn from green to blue.

20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.”

22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

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Humor:

God calls Noah, Bill Cosby’s version!   —   “Right!”

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Current Events:

Click  HERE   to read about Johan Huibers, a man who has recently built a model ark in The Netherlands as a testament to his faith.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Hicks.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Noahs_Ark.jpg
Sanzio.   http://viticodevagamundo.blogspot.com/2011/05/building-of-noahs-ark-construcao-da.html
Huiber and his ark.   http://blog.aboattime.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/arca.jpg

1396.) Genesis 5

September 8, 2014
Many many happy birthdays for these folks!

Many many happy birthdays for these folks!

Genesis 5   (NRSV)

Adam’s Descendants to Noah and His Sons

The point is not how long they lived.  The point is that they all died.

This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God.

It is interesting to compare Genesis 5:1 with Matthew 1:1. In Genesis, we have “the book of the generations of Adam” (KJV), a record of the descendants of the first Adam, most of whom rejected God. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (KJV), on the other hand, introduces the Gospel record of the “second Adam,” Jesus Christ the redeemer. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them “Humankind” when they were created. 3When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

We are all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, as C. S. Lewis writes in The Narnia Chronicles.  We are fallen as they are fallen.

4The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years; and he died.

6When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7Seth lived after the birth of Enosh 807 years, and had other sons and daughters. 8Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years; and he died.

9When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan 815 years, and had other sons and daughters. 11Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years; and he died.

12When Kenan had lived 70, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13Kenan lived after the birth of Mahalalel 840 years, and had other sons and daughters. 14Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years; and he died.

15When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16Mahalalel lived after the birth of Jared 830 years, and had other sons and daughters. 17Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years; and he died.

18When Jared had lived 162 years he became the father of Enoch. 19Jared lived after the birth of Enoch 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. 20Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years; and he died.

21When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years, and had other sons and daughters. 23Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.

Micah 6:8 (English Standard Version)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
   and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

25When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech 782 years, and had other sons and daughters. 27Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years; and he died.

28When Lamech had lived 182 years, he became the father of a son; 29he named him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.” 30Lamech lived after the birth of Noah 595 years, and had other sons and daughters. 31Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years; and he died.

32After Noah was 500 years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

–from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2

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Music:

I want to be like Enoch, at least in the “walk with God” part!  HERE  is Jeremy Camp and “Walk by Faith.”

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
birthday cake.  http://nicecliparts.com/download/Birthday_Cake_with_Candles1.gif
gravestone.  http://www.freeclipartnow.com/d/24557-1/R-I-P-gravestone.

 


1395.) Genesis 4

September 5, 2014

“Body of Abel Discovered by Adam and Eve” by William Blake

Genesis 4   (NRSV)

I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1395.)  Genesis 4) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

Cain Murders Abel

Now the man knew his wife Eve,

This is the first specific mention of sex in the Bible. The term “knew” or “to know” is a polite way of saying they had sexual relations and the term is used often in the Bible in this sense (Genesis 4:17, 4:25, 38:26, Judges 11:39, 1 Samuel 1:19).

There is power in this way of referring to sex. It shows the high, interpersonal terms in which the Bible sees the sexual relationship. Most terms and phrases people use for sex today are either coarse or violent, but the Bible sees sex as a means of knowing one another in a committed relationship. “Knew” indicates an act that contributes to the bond of unity and the building up of a one-flesh relationship.

We have no reason to believe Adam and Eve did not have sex before this. Adam and Eve were certainly capable of sexual relations before the fall, because there is nothing inherently impure or unclean in sex.

–David Guzik

and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.

3In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

cain-abel-kid1

6The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Word Study:

The Hebrew verb translated as “must master” (verse 7) means more than any one English translation is able to show.  This verb may also be translated “can master,” “shall master,” or “must master.”  Thus, God’s statement to Cain about mastering sin is a command, an invitation, and a promise.

–Linda B. Hinton

8Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

“The Killing of Abel by Cain,” by Jan van Eyck, from The Ghent Altarpiece at St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed in 1432.

9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

10And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

"Cain Killing Abel"  by Rembrandt (The Royal Collection of Prints and Drawings, Statens Museum, Copenhagen)

“Cain Killing Abel” by Rembrandt (The Royal Collection of Prints and Drawings, Statens Museum, Copenhagen)

1 John 2:11 (New International Version)

Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

13Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.”

15Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Hebrews 11:4 (Contemporary English Version)

Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him.

The story of Cain and Abel shows us that our relationships with one another affect our relationship to God.  We cannot be false to each other without also being false to God.

–Linda B. Hinton

And back to high school English class:  In the classic Old English poem Beowulf, the monstrous Grendel and his mother are believed to be descended from Cain.

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Music:

“Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as ‘our brother’s keepers,’ possessed of one of the oldest and possible one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.”

–Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

HERE  is “He Ain’t Heavy,  He’s My Brother”  recorded by Neil Diamond.

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Beginnings of Civilization

17Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. 18To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech.

19Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock.

Tents! Thank you, Jabal!

21His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe.

Musical pipes! Thank you, Jubal!

22Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools.

Iron tools! Thank you, Tubal-cain!

Iron tools! Thank you, Tubal-cain!

The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

25Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.” 26To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh.

At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.   http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n63/smash_smash_smash_smash/WilliamBlakeCainandAbel.png
Abel and Cain.   http://www.realbiblestories.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cain-and-abel.jpg
van Eyck.   http://www.wga.hu/art/e/eyck_van/jan/09ghent/1open1/u6kill.jpg
Rembrandt.   http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.528732.1370946911!/image/3002690148.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_640/3002690148.jpg
tent.   http://www.familytentcamping.com/members/1406228/uploaded/kinsmangigatent.jpg
musical pipes (a woodwind quintet).   http://www.belmont.edu/music/ensembles/images/woodwindsquintet2011.jpg
iron tools.   http://st.houzz.com/simgs/91117ab4024ce704_4-1591/rustic-fireplace-accessories.jpg

1394.) Genesis 3

September 4, 2014

“Adam and Eve,” by Lucas Cranach, 1526 (The Courtauld Gallery, London)

Genesis 3  (NRSV)

I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1394.)  Genesis 3) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

The First Sin and Its Punishment

Now the serpent

The text here does not, by itself alone, clearly identify the serpent as Satan, but the rest of the Bible makes it clear this is Satan appearing as a serpent.

Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells us that Satan was in Eden. Many other passages associate a serpent or a snake-like creature with Satan (such as Job 26:13 and Isaiah 51:9). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan.

The representation of Satan as a serpent makes the idea of Moses saving Israel by lifting up a bronze serpent all the more provocative (Numbers 21:8-9), especially when Jesus identifies Himself with that very serpent (John 3:14). This is because in this picture, the serpent (a personification of sin and rebellion) is made of bronze (a metal associated with judgment, since it is made with fire). The lifting of a bronze serpent is the lifting up of sin judged, in the form of a cross.

Ezekiel 28 tells us Satan, before his fall, was an angel of the highest rank and prominence, even the “worship leader” in heaven. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan’s fall had to do with his desire to be equal to or greater than God, to set his will against God’s will.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in blue)

was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“

4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

Eve surrendered to this temptation in exactly the way John describes in 1 John 2:16. First, she gave in to the lust of the flesh (saw that it was good for food), then she gave in to the lust of the eyes (pleasant to the eyes), then she gave in to the pride of life (desirable to make one wise).

Gen3 red-apple-

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.

–from Paradise Lost, by John Milton

“Take and eat” will one day become verbs of salvation, but only after Jesus had lived in the world of Adam’s curse and surrendered to death.

7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Romans 5:18-19 (New Living Translation)

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Jesus rescues us from playing the blame game, as per Adam and Eve above.

16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

“Losing Paradise” by He Qi

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Reflection:

What is God’s definition of sin?

How does the idea of sin fit (or not) into today’s culture?

What are the results of my own sins?

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Today Your Mercy Calls Us
Oswald Allen  (1816-1878)

Today your mercy calls us
To wash away our sin.
However great our trespass,
Whatever we have been,
However long from mercy
Our hearts have turned away,
Your precious blood can wash us
And make us clean today.

Today your gate is open,
And all who enter in
Shall find a Father’s welcome
And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten,
A present joy be given,
A future grace be promised,
A glorious crown in heaven.

Today our Father calls us;
His Holy Spirit waits;
His blessed angels gather
Around the heavenly gates.
No question will be asked us,
How often we have come;
Although we oft have wandered,
It is our Father’s home.

O all embracing Mercy,
O ever open Door,
What should we do without you
When heart and eye run over?
When all things seem against us,
To drive us to despair,
We know one gate is open,
One ear will hear our prayer.

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Literature:

A powerful retelling of Genesis 3 by one of the greatest writers in the English language.  Paradise Lost, by John Milton, 1667, “to justify the ways of God to men.”   Try the new prose ‘translation’ by Dennis Danielson!

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Music:

Daniel 9:9 says — The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.

HERE  is “Lord Have Mercy,” sung by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Cranach.  http://static.artbible.info/large/cranach_adameva_1526.jpg
apple.  http://thesmilecenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/red-apple-bite-300×299.jpg
Thank you, Jesus.   http://i.myniceprofile.com/202/20262.jpg

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1393.) Genesis 2

September 3, 2014

“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN

Genesis 2  (NRSV)

I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1393.)  Genesis 2) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

Another Account of the Creation

This second account of creation is written from a different point of view: It focuses on the first humans. It also uses a different name for God. In the first account, God is referred to as elohim, which means “the mighty God the Creator, the Great One who inhabits eternity.” Elohim is used in this important account to emphasize God’s sovereign power. In the second account, the name used for God is Yahweh elohim. Yahweh is used when God emphasizes the importance of his relationship with humanity.

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

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Poetry:

HERE  is “The Creation,” a magnificent “Negro sermon” written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and told here by Wintley Phipps.

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8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12and the gold of that land is good;

This is the first mention of gold in the Bible.  And here is the last:

Revelation 21:18-21 (English Standard Version)

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

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Reflections on work/vocation:

God places humankind in the garden with specific duties (work) and specific instructions (boundaries and limits).  Although we often think of work and limits as negatives, God gives them to Adam as positives.  How can work and limitations be positives for us?

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

VOCATION:

It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to by God.

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.

By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.
Neither the hair shirt not the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

–Frederick Buechner

“True work is play.”

–Madeleine L’Engle

“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone.”

–Martin Luther

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Music:

HERE  is a fun song about work — after the Fall!  Dolly Parton sings the theme song from the movie Nine to Five.

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18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.

2-adam-names-animals

21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

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2-adam-eve-cartoon_________________________

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

PIONEERS BY DESIGN

Some of the most delightful surprises in my life have come from the portions of Scripture that seem most objectionable to the world.  Out of these controversial passages come the most illuminating insights.  For example, the Creation story, which is normally read through a fog of confusion, has become the very basis of my intellectual freedom.  Genesis 1 and 2 lay the foundation for all the rest of Scripture and human history.

  • Lesson 1:  There is only one God.  He is the Creator of all things.
  • Lesson 2:  All that he has made is good.
  • Lesson 3:  He has made the world not only for my enjoyment, but for my mastery, and not just for control, but for stewardship.

These lessons reveal that I am free—or rather, obligated—to explore and discover all that is part of my world.  This offers the most exciting challenges.  Anything that gives me a better understanding and control of his purposes in this world is a valid Christian calling.  God has given human beings a marvelous curiosity and has placed us in a world designed to encourage our curiosity.

God’s people have largely forgotten this command because we are preoccupied with ourselves.  Our forgetfulness though does not nullify God’s command.  Christians, of all people, should feel the most comfortable in intellectual pursuits.  Christians are the people whose basic philosophy justifies study.  We were made to discover the world that God has given us.  We are pioneers by design.  If we choose to see ourselves in that light, our approach to all life will be different.  We will diligently seek to learn and grow.  We will delight in the world he has given us.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN.       http://www.pcotw.org/
Michelangelo, detail from the Sistine Chapel.   http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/michelangelo-the-creation-of-adam-7157.jpg
Adam names the animals.   http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/images/articles/nab/adam-naming.jpg
cartoon.   http://www.jantoo.com/cartoon/12231002

1392.) Genesis 1

September 2, 2014
The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, circa 1511 (Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, 1511
(Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a   (NRSV)

Welcome to DWELLING in the Word!  I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1392.)  Genesis 1) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Gen1 space

6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Gen1 Sky

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Music:

HERE  is “The Heavens Are Telling”  from The Creation by Joseph Haydn, completed in 1798.     “The heavens are telling the glory of God; the wonder of His work displays the firmament.”

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9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Gen1 seed-bearing plant

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

"Birds and Fish after Escher" by Andrew Li.

“Birds and Fish after Escher” by Andrew Li.

24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

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Music:

HERE  is “All Creatures of our God and King,” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Reflection:

What does it mean that we are made in God’s image, “according to our likeness”?

How are we to be like God emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically? — or as Jesus said in Mark 12:30 — what can we do to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”?

Remember that Jesus came to earth as “the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

“Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden” by Australian artist Margaret Preston, 1950. See the kangaroo and the koala? (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

2) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 1 from the St. John's Bible, with seven columns for the seven days --

Genesis 1 from the St. John’s Bible –

The structure of this illumination reflects the seven-day progression of the Bible’s Creation story, with seven vertical strips, one for each day. On the first day, fragmented shapes explode from the primordial void, expressed by the Hebrew words “tohu wabohu” (chaos). A vertical gold line marks the moment in the story when God ordered, “Let there be light.” Day three contains satellite pictures of the Nile Delta, suggesting the division of land and water and the beginnings of vegetation. The creation of human beings on the sixth day is represented by images from aboriginal rock paintings in Africa and Australia. The snake implies dangers to come, in the Garden of Eden. The golden seventh day is given over entirely to the contemplation of the spirit. The raven flying across the composition is the traditional carrier of God’s message to Saint Benedict.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

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Books:

The Bible Jesus Read — Philip Yancey.
(Chapter 1: Is the Old Testament worth the effort?)

In the Beginning — Steve Turner.
(Simple rhymes, vivid pictures, for kids of all ages)

And:

HERE  is Genesis 1:1-10 from outer space! — A Christmas Greeting from Apollo 8.

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John 1:1-5  (Contemporary English Version)

In the beginning was the one

who is called the Word.

The Word was with God

and was truly God.

From the very beginning

the Word was with God.

And with this Word,

God created all things.

Nothing was made

without the Word.

Everything that was created

received its life from him,

and his life gave light

to everyone.

The light keeps shining

in the dark,

and darkness has never

put it out.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Michelangelo.  http://www.case.edu/med/reprobiol/images/michelangelo-creation-adam-.jpg
light from deep space (NASA).  http://jtintle.wordpress.com/2006/11/13/pia01322-chaos-at-the-heart-of-orion/
sky.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/SI-Sky.JPG
raspberries, seed-bearing plants.   http://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.3519408.1328885213!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.JPG
sun, moon, stars.   http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/celestiallogo.jpg
“Birds and Fish after Escher” by Andrew Li.   http://www.creativityexplored.org/_images/art_600x600/1341252983Andrew_Li_Birds__Fish_after_Escher200_wide.jpg
Preston.  http://clatterymachinery.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/margaret-preston-adam-and-eve-in-the-garden-of-eden.jpg
St. John’s Bible:  Genesis.    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/stjohnsbible/images/itw0001s.jpg

1391.) The Word of God

September 1, 2014

Look Anew.

The Bible is utterly trustworthy.

Bible with light

Tomorrow we are starting again!  A chapter a day, Genesis through Revelation!  At 1,189 chapters in the Bible, and approximately 260 weekdays a year, it will take us about four years to read through it all.  There is no rush; the name of this blog is DWELLING for a reason!  We want to move patiently through God’s Word, all the while thinking, marinating, meditating.  We want the Word to change us, transform us, renew us.

So before we begin, let’s commit to look at the Bible with fresh eyes and to hear it with fresh ears.  As the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:18 (NIV), “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”  For the next many months, our textbook will be the Bible, but we do not take it just on blind faith.  There are many good reasons to believe that the Bible is reliable.

1. IT SAYS SO.

Bible 2 Timothy

We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

–2 Peter 1: 19-21 (Message)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

–John 1: 1 (NRSV)

2. JESUS SAYS SO.

Bible Jesus quotes OT

Jesus quoted Old Testament Scripture all the time. He believed it to be true. He quoted well over a dozen OT books, in his public and private words, including some of his words from the cross.  Since Jesus quoted Psalms, Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Isaiah a great deal, it seems that it would probably be a good idea for us to know them better, too.

Mark 12:26  (NIV)

Now about the dead rising–have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

3. MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible manuscripts

Romans 11: 13-22 and Colossians 1: 5-12, (P46)

Original writings, called autographs, were probably written on papyrus scrolls. When these original autographs were copied, it was on to dried animal skin scrolls. Copies were made under the strictest measures; often one error meant the copy was destroyed. The accuracy of the copies is confirmed by the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Bible, made c. 250 – 150 B.C. during the Greek Empire).

For example, look at the picture above.  The Chester Beatty papyrus codex of the Pauline Epistles (P46) is the earliest book of Saint Paul’s letters in existence. It contains some of Paul’s letters to the early Christian communities in Asia Minor. The pages were numbered in the upper margin, and enough page numbers have been preserved to establish the original formation of the volume. The entire codex would have consisted of 100 to 104 leaves, of which only 86 survive, 55 in The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and 30 in the library of the University of Michigan.

4. MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible Cave

The Dead Sea Scrolls also confirm the reliability of Scripture. Over 800 documents were discovered in eleven caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament have been discovered, except the book of Esther.  Included in the scrolls are 29 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms.  The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest collection of Old Testament scrolls ever found. In fact, they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 AD.

The scrolls are for the most part written in Hebrew, but there are many written in Aramaic.  Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and the first two centuries A.D.  The discovery of the scrolls has greatly enhanced scholarly knowledge of these two languages.

5. EVEN MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible Iliad

Here are a couple more interesting facts that support our belief in the veracity of the Bible.

There exist today more than 5000 ancient copies of the New Testament. No other document of antiquity even comes close to such numbers. In comparison, Homer’s Iliad is second, with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.

The chronology of these manuscripts is another interesting issue. The earliest copies of Homer we have were written 400 years after Homer. But the earliest complete NT Scriptures we have are only 225 years after Christ – with fragments as early as 50 – 100 years later.

Of course, the closer to the actual events, the more likely real witnesses were there to confirm what was written. These facts provide a remarkable basis for the integrity of the Bible.

6. PROPHECY SAYS SO.

Bible JESUS PROPHECIES

Over and over, Jesus pointed to OT prophecy to back up his claims to be the Messiah. In the OT there are 60-some major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications. These include references to various ancestors, the location of his birth, his working of miracles, his telling of parables, his death, burial, and resurrection – that were all fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ.  As we read through the 39 OT books, we will be paying close attention to passages that point us to Jesus.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

–Luke 24: 44 (ESV)

7. CHANGED LIVES SAY SO.

Bible my heart

Alistair Begg, pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, says this about understanding the Bible:

“In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted,
in the Gospels Jesus is revealed,
in the Acts of the apostles Jesus is preached,
in the Epistles, Jesus is explained,
and in the Book of Revelation Jesus is expected.”

And as we see Jesus more clearly and love him more deeply, we, too, are witnesses to the truth of Holy Scriptures. After all, the most convincing argument for Christianity is a genuine Christian! We believe that the Word of God is true, teaching us that God is our Father and Creator, Jesus is our Savior, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide.  We have Christ in our hearts and in our lives, and we will show the world a peace and a joy that simply seem impossible to them. Sins forgiven, hope abounding, love unfailing – these gifts of God will transform lives!

Microsoft Word - Document1_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Word of God, Speak” by MercyMe.

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Show me Yourself within Your Word, O Lord, and show me my Savior.

DWELLING in Jesus with you,

Rebecca Mitchell


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